This video is a classic.
In 2007, just at the peak of child-star Britney Spears’ apparent nervous breakdown, late night talk show host Craig Ferguson stood in front of his audience and explained why he isn’t comfortable making fun of a person who is struggling—even if that person is a celebrity. Not only does he realize that even celebrities suffer because of what is said about them, but he also knows how it feels to circle the bottom of the drain. As he explains in the video, before he got sober more than a dozen years before, he too almost died from addiction.
Ferguson’s story is timeless, and while he refers to Britney Spears in his monologue, there is a bottomless well of celebrities who seem to be struggling in the same way. This week, the news and gossip channels are abuzz with the arrest of former child star Lindsay Lohan, who allegedly got in a fight in a club and punched someone. On top of that, she is also being charged with misdemeanors for allegedly lying to police officers during an investigation into a car accident in California last June.
This all comes on the tail of multiple arrests and general bad behavior of former child star Amanda Bynes, reminiscent of her child-star sisters before her.
And while Two and a Half Men star Angus T. Jones may not be spiraling out of control with addiction or car crashes—or even shaving his head in front of paparazzi—his recent public statement against the morality of the very show that made him rich and famous (and to which he is contractually obligated), telling people that they should stop watching it—and then almost immediately retracting the statement—indicates that the former child star may also not be making the best decisions. He is only 19, after all, and the majority of the life he can remember has been in front of the camera.
These are all young people, raised in the spotlight, with no chance for the freedom and anonymity that the rest of us enjoy. While they may not face the challenges others have to deal with—like poverty or hunger—I think Craig Ferguson is right. We need to step back from criticizing or making fun of those who are struggling, and realize the humanity within them is not all that different from ours.